Anyone remember this famous anti-drug ad from the 1980’s?
It was supposed to be simple and straightforward- drugs are frying oil; your brain is an egg. If your skull (the shell) gets cracked open, your brains slide out and fall on some drugs, your brains will fry on the sidewalk or something. At least that’s how I interpreted it as a five or six year old.
Seriously though, the message was supposed to be incredibly simple- drugs fry your brain. Do they though? There are, after all, all kinds of drugs that are perfectly legal and don’t cause any sort of brain damage. And I have to wonder what the makers of that ad would think if we could go back and tell them that decades later, doctors would be prescribing opioids as daily pain medication. Is it accurate to say that cannabis fries your brain?
Today we might look back at those 80’s anti-drug PSAs and laugh at how serious they were. I mean how could you not laugh at this?
Surely by the 2000’s, our nation’s anti-drug policy experts had wised up and started giving kids the cold hard facts about the effects of drugs, right? Wrong.
Needless to say, the actual effectiveness of these ads is highly disputed, to say the least. I can’t pretend to know what went on during the pitch meetings for any of these ads, but I have a feeling I can guess the general mentality. “We’re making anti-drug ads! How can anything anti-drug be bad when we have a drug problem in this country!”
This seems to be the attitude of the new crop of “Anti-Deza” fighters, like the geniuses behind the Committee to Investigate Russia (which doesn’t seem to be doing any investigation at the moment). After their Morgan Freeman video got savaged all around, they have labeled any and all criticism to be “pro-Russian” and insist that negative reactions to their schlock proves that their message is effective. Kind of sounds familiar.
We’ve all heard proverbs like “there’s always more flak over the target,” but some of us have heard that proverbs are often bullshit in the real world, and there’s also a logical fallacy based on the idea that getting lots of negative reactions means you must be onto something. Of course their video drew attacks from the Russian state media and the gaggle of nutjob dupes who think Russia’s on their side- how could it not? But it also drew criticism from people who actually know what they’re talking about, mainly because it contains some blatant factual errors and also ridiculously oversimplifies and distorts the subject. But in the bizarro world of the committee and their fans, their video was anti-Kremlin, ergo you couldn’t possibly take any issue with it unless you are pro-Kremlin. They’re that dense.
If their density sounds strange to you, just keep in mind that several of the people on the committee work for think tanks which helped craft policies that made American audiences vulnerable to Russian propaganda in the first place. That should tell you all you need to know about whether or not they have a viable solution to the Russia threat (HINT: they don’t).
This is an ongoing problem because I feel the real response to Russian interference and propaganda needs to be a grassroots one, spurred by a movement that is also working hard to reform our shattered domestic system. But for millions of ordinary people to take up that mantle, they need to be reliably informed about Russia, the Kremlin regime, its tactics, motives, etc. A new committee headed by a guy who was literally an architect of the Iraq War isn’t going to fulfill that role.
But of course this humble old blog will no doubt be ignored by the media, and pretty soon the Committee to Investigate Russia will probably be launching a campaign to require all video games to display a WINNERS DON’T WATCH RT message before the title screen.